Scottish Prisoners of War DNA Project

Guest post from, John Cleary, Administrator of the NEW Scottish Prisoner of War DNA Project:

“The Scottish PoWs DNA Project has been growing steadily for over a month now, and membership has reached 21, descending from 13 named PoWs.  I call on all members of this list who are descended from one of the PoWs and who have tested their DNA already to join the project.

If you have found matches who also believe themselves descended from the PoWs, invite them to join the project (send the link from the previous message, or the links section of this site).

If you are descended – or probably/possibly descended – from other Scottish labourers or indentured servants, including those who went to other colonies like Virginia or Barbados, you are also welcome to join this project.  We have a category for you in the results page, and you can also use this project as a research tool.  After all, there may be relationships between those Scots and the New England ones, either in Scotland or America, and this project can find them.

Some of you may be descended from Scots or believed Scottish ancestors who are not on the Unity or John & Sara lists, but were known to be in New England or other colonies from these early days.  Again you are welcome to join – many Covenanters chose exile after Cromwell cemented his power, and again after the king returned; and others may have decided to migrate to be close to relatives among the early prisoners.  Again, all such descendants are welcome to join, and we have a category for you too in the results page.

And maybe you have not tested but would like to.  I recommend that all surname groups seek out new testing partners, and also give advice to people who share your surname and may share your PoW ancestor.  The groupings here and your own surname projects will be the more powerful the more members you have – you will be able to start drawing up descent trees from your ancestor, and confirm or refute theories about the lines of descent from them.  It always helps to make these tests more effective though if you have a particular question to ask by doing them – again, feel free to put suggestions and questions to this forum.

And through all of this of course we hope to understand better the experience and lives of those PoWs in the new world as they made sense of their forced transplantation and discovered new ways to live.  This project is a part of that – do join, and keep the questions and thoughts about them flowing.”


Link to project site:


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